High School Musical Censorship Draws Big Debate In This New Jersey School

Parents in a New Jersey school is asking the school board to look into censoring high school musicals. They launched a petition, which has received some 140 signatures, after watching a presentation of "Pippin" at the Middle Township High School. They insisted the play was presented inappropriately, so the parents are demanding the school board to implement an oversight on school productions.

Parents Cite Play Had Sex, Cursing

Petitioners cited that the high school musical shown last February had sexual themes and foul language. "I asked my granddaughter what she thought about the play and she commented that there was a lot of cursing," said Barbara Kraemer, who started the petition, per Cape May County Herald.

Kraemer defends her stance saying that someone else should oversee these plays aside from the school drama teachers. "This is not what I am paying taxes for; the language and behavior is not acceptable," she said.

Another mother, Sue Sterling, stated that she and her family did not feel comfortable with the high school musical, its theme and message. "I am a Christian woman and feel you are degrading me and my family because of what we live by," she said, per New York Post. For Sterling, the school board must draw the line when it comes to vulgarity, including artistic presentations.

School Board Decides On High School Musicals

Students, parents and school representatives met with the Middle Township Board of Education to discuss the matter in March and they were given the chance to share their testimonies and arguments. Superintendent Dr. David Salvo headed the inquiry and after hearing both sides, he stated that the petition was not sufficient.

Salvo said that the play was adjusted to cater to its teen audience, from its theme to its costumes, but It was advertised in papers as having "mature content," which counted as a fair warning. He also believed that showing "Pippin" was a "real and meaningful learning experience for students."

Board president Dennis Roberts and board solicitor Amy Elco support Salvo's conclusion to the inquiry. They said that the policy on high school musicals does not need changes and code of conducts should be taken in context. The school play didn't violate any of these.

"If it is part of a structured activity, such as reading a book or a play, and the student is not choosing to say it (profanity) but read it, then it is not against policy," Elco said. Watch a montage of "Pippin," an award-winning Broadway show, in the video below:

Where do you side in this debate? Should the school board censor school plays? Sound off in the comments.

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